Lafayette welcomes new Sustainability Outreach and Engagement Manager Samantha Smith

Smith+was+involved+in+sustainability+efforts+at+Lehigh+University+for+five+years+as+both+an+undergraduate+and+graduate+student.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Samantha+Smith%29

Smith was involved in sustainability efforts at Lehigh University for five years as both an undergraduate and graduate student. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Smith)

Lucie Lagodich, Editor-in-Chief

On the ground floor of the Rockwell Integrated Science Center, Lafayette students who wander into room 203 will be greeted by a friendly smile and a hello from the newest hire in the Sustainability Office. The office, originally meant to have four staff members, has had a population of two for the past year.

This changed on Monday when Lafayette welcomed Samantha Smith, sustainability outreach and engagement manager.

“[My role is to] reach as many students and as many campus stakeholders – including the community ­– as possible and think creatively about ways to engage them,” Smith said. “Then work with students and have them think of ideas and create things and be sort of a liaison for them and the academic institution and how they can take their ideas to fruition.”

In addition to working with students, Smith is happy to be back in the area due to her deep ties to the Easton community with several family members living in the area.

“My dad grew up in Easton and my parents lived in Nazareth when I was born. So for me, this is a little bit of a homecoming in a way, to come back to my roots in an area that I’m sort of familiar with and give back to the Easton community in a way that it was given to me when I was younger, exploring the nature of the area with my family,” Smith said.

Before coming to Lafayette, Smith completed an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in environmental policy at Lehigh University.

“All the while when I was at Lehigh, I was involved in the office of sustainability as an eco-rep and I was involved in the events planning portion of it, and I very much enjoy that,” Smith said. “I was planning things and engaging students throughout my five years at Lehigh.”

Smith worked with Lafayette’s Director of Sustainability Delicia Nahman while studying at Lehigh for five years, drawing her to apply to the open position in Lafayette’s office.

“I wasn’t looking at other jobs. I saw this come along, and I was really excited about the opportunity to go back to academia and make the impact that I can make here and work with Delicia,” Smith said.

She worked at the Port Authority for two years on a variety of projects and is excited to return to the Easton.

“I’m most excited for the energy that students bring to their work…We’re ready to make action and changes, and we can do that because of the student’s passion,” Smith said. “You don’t get that everywhere you are in life, and to be able to think about things outside of corporate profits atmosphere and more of in a ‘how can we have a living laboratory?’ I feel I could talk about all the time. It’s just different and it’s really exciting.”

Smith will be working closely with students and sustainability clubs on campus in the coming months and has plans to expand the sustainability programs at the college.

“One thing that I really hope to get more involved in is how we can expand sustainability not only for students on campus but with the community at large in Easton and how our programs can collaborate and interplay with each other so that we can take our great learnings here and learn from their great learnings out in a small community. I think it’s a great way to teach students and also give back to the community that supports us,” Smith said.

All students are welcome to get involved in sustainability efforts on campus, according to Smith.

“My door’s always open,” Smith said. “If anyone is interested in sustainability but doesn’t know how to get involved or just wants to talk through a specific topic or career paths in sustainability, anything like that. I’m here open to it.”